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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tyler Gardner's Experience at Space Camp. Huntsville, Alabama. Part 2,

Area 51

Wow, summer has really gotten away from me!  I tried to get this post out much earlier, but other things have taken up my time.  Anyway, I will try to be short and to the point.  For those of you who did not read my previous post, this is post 2 in a 3 post series that I am writing about my experience at Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama.

Most of us know Area 51 as a mysterious military base somewhere in the deserts of Nevada.  Area 51, as far as Space Camp goes, is a team building ropes course used to teach teamwork and leadership.  At Area 51, I participated in multiple activities which included a 50 foot rock wall and a 30 foot panic pole.  Amazingly, I made it to the top of both of those!

Area 51’s 50 foot rock wall!  It’s higher than you think...

Climbing the rock wall.  Don’t look down!

Both the rock wall and the panic pole build trust between team members.  How so, you ask?  Well, while climbing the pole or rock wall, you are hooked on to one end of a belay line.  This safety line literally feels like a lifeline as you reach the top of the pole or wall.  On the other end of this lifeline are your teammates, making sure you don’t fall.  This means that the whole team has to work together to get every member up the pole and wall safely.

Team huddle!

Some of my teammates preparing to belay the next climber.

Many of you have probably climbed a rock wall before, but I doubt many of you have climbed anything like a panic pole.  As you reach the top, you realize that you are above most of the trees around you.  The wind blowing occasionally, making the pole wobble beneath you, does not help your confidence at all.  The worst part?  Stepping up onto the small platform on top and then making a 180° turn to jump and touch a rope.  Trust me, it is very nerve racking!

Me climbing the panic pole.

Attempting to turn around while feeling like you are going to fall at any moment.

In addition, my team also completed an island bridge challenge where we had to use planks to get our team from one ‘island’ to another.

Bridge Challenge

Evaluation of Area 51: very fun!  I almost wish the Space Center had something similar.  Almost...  Then again, the Space Center really doesn’t need anything like this.

In my final post, I’ll talk about how Space Camp runs their missions.

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